HANOVER TOWNSHIP, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)— It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July weekend without fireworks.
Safety is something that should always be top of mind when setting them off, but there’s something that could easily be overlooked.
The hands, eyes, head, and face are the most injury-prone parts of the body when it comes to fireworks, but there’s something else that could also be vulnerable: your ears.
The Ott family looked to fill their shopping list on Friday with some 4th of July fun. They came to the right place: Keystone Fireworks in Hanover Township. And they have one thing in mind for the fireworks they want.
“Color. You know, we’re looking around and we’re looking for.. my wife is looking for red and blue in particular,” said Stephen Ott.
The colors can be eye-catching.
“And we set them off on a lake so it’s pretty to see the reflection on the water. That’s my favorite,” Ott’s 18-year-old daughter Abigail explained.
But it’s more than color that was on Star Himel’s fireworks shopping list.
“I like the loud noise. I like the attention-grabbers,” said the Tunkhannock woman.
Fireworks with names like ‘Rock The Block’, ‘Echo Blast’, and ‘God of Thunder’ can be ear-rattling.
“We kind of forget or don’t pay attention to how loud fireworks are,” explained Marquitta Merkison, AU.D. CCC-A and Associate Director of Audiology Practices at the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association.
Hearing damage can happen from a single loud blast. So how loud in decibels is too loud? Dr. Merkison says for kids it’s 75 decibels and for adults, 85 decibels.
“So anything above that is going to put you at risk for losing your hearing. Fireworks and firecrackers specifically at just a distance of three feet can reach levels of 150 decibels,” the audiologist told Eyewitness News.
Dr. Merkison says to keep your distance, at least 500 feet away from a fireworks launch site. If you experience ringing in your ears or any other ear discomfort, listen to your body and get away from the noise. And whether you’re setting off the fireworks or just enjoying them, don’t forget ear protection.
“We’ve got a bunch of earplugs for kids and anyone that wants to use them,” said April Miller of Tunkhannock. Because once you harm your hearing, “That’s it. That’s it. It doesn’t come back,” said Miller.
Noise-induced hearing loss can cause ringing in your ears, perhaps indefinitely, and losing the ability to hear high-pitched sounds.
Dr. Merkison says if your hearing seems different the day after experiencing loud noises like fireworks, see an audiologist asap.